2019-11-03 by Daisy I.
Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters vandalise Chinese state media office as violence continues
Hong Kong businesses linked to China, including Beijing’s official news agency, have been targeted by vandals during another night of anti-government riots.
Heavily armed police moved quickly to disperse large crowds of demonstrators who marched in the centre of Hong Kong chanting pro-democracy slogans on the 22nd straight weekend of protests.
While officers used tear gas and water cannon, activists managed to smash the office of China’s official news agency Xinhua, and throw a petrol bomb inside.
The Chinese news agency condemned the act as “savage behaviour”.
Several other China-linked businesses were attacked elsewhere in the city, as was a branch of coffee chain Starbucks. Firebombs were thrown and metro train stations were set on fire.
Photo: The disturbances were among the most violent seen in recent weeks.
Protesters are angry at what they say is the Chinese Government’s meddling with Hong Kong’s freedoms, including its legal system, since the city returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
Clashes continued into the night as protesters retreated to the Causeway Bay area and across the water to the northern Kowloon side.
Some protesters gathered across the harbour in the hotel and shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui, at the tip of the Kowloon peninsula, with scores of passengers on the Star Ferry chanting “Hong Kong people resist”.
Hundreds gathered outside the Kowloon mosque on Nathan Road shouting “fight for freedom”.
Police said a large group of masked protesters in that area had occupied roads and hurled petrol bombs. In one incident, faeces was thrown at officers, police added.
Government data released on Thursday confirmed that Hong Kong slid into recession in the third quarter for the first time since the global financial crisis of 2008.
‘No way that we would back off’
The ABC has spoken to some of the masked rioters who have helped vandalise Chinese businesses over recent weeks, and they warn their activity will continue.
“We are just trying to keep our homeland as free as possible,” declared Alfred, a young activist who asked for his full identity to remain anonymous.
“If you look closely into the destruction or the vandalism of these businesses you would discover that these shops and businesses are either very staunch supporters of the current police brutality, or they’re essentially cronies of the Chinese Communist party.”
“Do you honestly believe that the Bank of China does not have close ties with the Chinese Communist Party? And it may be a stretch but I would say do you think they do not fund the projects that happen in Xinjiang towards the Uyghurs?”
“I think our action is not only fighting for justice for Hong Kongers but especially for those who have a hard time fighting for themselves.”
Peter, another young activist who claims police sexually assaulted him following a recent protest, dismissed concerns that targeting Chinese businesses may be hurting Hong Kong’s economy.
“Our generation hasn’t reaped the benefit of the economy at all, we’ve been squashed, there’s nowhere to go, no promotion or anything like that.
“There is no way that we would back off, because this is the only means that we could fight back.”